Other than nights following an over-indulgence in all things alcoholic (Ah, those days of youthful abandon….) I don’t recall ever sleeping through an entire night without waking up at least once. As I have gotten older (it happens) I wake up more frequently.
The first time I wake up I have a big glass of water. Don’t ask why… I’ve been doing it my entire adult life. The other times I roll over and go right back to sleep. Sometimes I look at the clock and am grateful I can sleep for 2 more hours.
Nothing that I eat or don’t eat seems to change the way I sleep – except for cognac. That gives me terrible nightmares. (After the 3rd try I swore never to touch the stuff again even though I love it.)
Social media tells me that a lot of people aren’t as lucky as I and need help getting a decent night’s sleep.
If you are one of them, and would rather not pop a pill, here are some food tips that may help.
Food Hacks That Will Help You Sleep Better Tonight
Everyone has struggled with their sleep at one point of their lives. For some, those nightmares and sleep deprivation are an everyday occurrence unfortunately, and most people opt for sleeping pills or other medication to help them sleep. However, those are not as healthy as taking care of your diet. With a proper diet and adding a few of the foods that can regulate our sleep schedule, we can easily get more hours of quality shut-eye.
Eat More Kiwi Fruit
Kiwi fruit and other seemingly tropical fruits can do wonders to your sleep. So, if you are really struggling with sleeping properly during the night, try eating two kiwis an hour before bedtime for a truly great night of sleep. One study from Taipei Medical University has found that subjects who consume kiwis before bed actually sleep longer and have more efficient sleep during the night. And for those of you who don’t like kiwi, you can easily mix them with cucumber and mango and create a tasty salsa for better sleep.
Tomatoes are delicious and go together with so many dinners, but these can actually damage your sleep more than you think. Tomatoes, like other acidic foods, can cause heartburn which can keep you up at night. If you eat tomatoes for dinner, chances are big that you will wake up clutching your chest in the middle of the night. The same rule applies to ketchup, so if you like french fries with ketchup, don’t eat them for dinner.
Have Smoothies for Dinner
For a good night’s sleep we need two ingredients – serotonin and melatonin. So, instead of having a heavy dinner, you can fix up a healthy smoothie with all the ingredients to boost your serotonin and melatonin levels. The main ingredient for your bedtime smoothie should be almonds, bananas and kale. Almonds are high in calcium which helps relax muscles and converts tryptophan to melatonin, which makes them a perfect ingredient for a smoothie or a late night snack. Bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium, which can also help relax your muscles. You can also add raw spinach or almond milk for the same purpose. Also, make sure to read a bit about melatonin and how much is the safe dose or check this post about it.
Cereals Are Not Just For Breakfast
Even though we mostly eat cereal for breakfast, we can actually eat them throughout the whole day and get their benefits. They are even more beneficial if eaten before bed and can help you fall asleep faster. If you start eating cereal low in sugar and rich in carbohydrates they can help your body absorb tryptophan and convert it to serotonin.
However, make sure to avoid sugary cereal and stick to ones with under five grams of sugar per serving. Otherwise, the sugar will keep you awake. Also, eat them with skim milk rather than whole because skim milk is more easily digestible.
Tarragon is an herb found in Europe and North America and it is the main ingredient in French cooking. This herb is commonly used to season fish, egg dishes and chicken and it is the main flavor in Béarnaise sauce. And why it is good for better sleep, because the artemisia group of plants, where tarragon belongs, have been proven to be beneficial to sleep and to improve its quality because they have a sedative effect.
Avoid Caffeine Late in the Day
Coffee and sodas are great stimulants that can keep us awake during the day. However, they should be avoided before bedtime. We have all experienced lack of sleep when we drink coffee later in the day, but you actually have to avoid coffee and sodas for hours before bed. Caffeine found in coffee and sodas can still affect our bodies for eight to 14 hours. So, if you are a coffee drinker, make sure to drink it only in the mornings.
If you have trouble sleeping, take a closer look at your diet and eating and drinking habits. Chances are big that something in your diet is affecting your sleep, and this can easily be fixed without any medications.
Note: The photo of all that lovely tarragon is from my old herb garden – I use it a lot. Maybe that’s why I sleep well….